If you've ever gazed at roofers walking around on sloped roofs while wearing no safety harnesses and thought to yourself, "Gee, these guys must sometimes fall and break their necks," you're right. Our friends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics have just released their latest data on fatal occupational injuries.
In decreasing order of fatality rate, the 10 most dangerous occupations are loggers, aircraft pilots, fishers and fishing workers, structural iron and steel workers, refuse and recyclable material collectors, farmers and ranchers, roofers, electrical power line installers/repairers, driver/sales workers and truck drivers, and taxi drivers and chauffeurs.
Note that many deaths happen on the road -- for the likes of taxi drivers, chauffeurs, truck drivers, and waste collectors, for example. In fact, highway accidents were the top cause of deaths at work. Some 1,374 people died that way last year, 21 more than the year before.
If the aircraft pilot ranking surprises you, remember that this doesn't just involve pilots of major airlines, but also those who pilot small aircraft, such as crop dusters, and often older aircraft. The appearance of fishers on the list probably isn't a surprise. I invite you, though, to gain a much deeper appreciation of the dangers in fishing via the well-worth-reading Sebastian Junger book The Perfect Storm. (Yes, the movie was good, but the book is much more eye-opening.)
As I reviewed the list of dangerous professions, I couldn't help thinking of some other dangerous positions people put themselves into. For example:
- The Retirement Procrastinator: It doesn't often occur to people engaged in this occupation that they need to make a retirement plan and begin saving in the smartest ways so that they'll have enough to live on in their golden years. When it does occur to them, they shrug their shoulders and say something like, "Eh -- I'll deal with it later." These people are living recklessly, endangering their future. (If you're one of these thrill-seekers, I invite you to try our easy-to-read Rule Your Retirement newsletter, which can quickly have you inspired and taking action. Try it for free.)
- The Reckless Investor: This sort of person invests by the seat of his or her pants, acting more on impulse than on reason. This might be you if you read some negative article about Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
(NYSE:KKD)and decided to short the stock -- without really getting a good handle on its financials and its chances of turning itself around. If so, you're taking an unnecessary chance there. Maybe you read a positive paragraph about the savvy management of biotech outfit Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG)and are eager to jump in. Again, that's not the right way to go about it. (If you're looking for stock ideas that have some significant research behind them, try one or more of our investing newsletters for free. We cover many different investing approaches and focuses.)
- The Mutual Fund Sub-Optimizer: This unfortunate person knows that he or she doesn't have the time or interest to find outstanding individual stocks, so the person lets a professional invest his or her money. But the person doesn't pay close attention to track records or performance or fees and ends up making much less than was possible. The person might even lose a lot of money. Take time to learn how to be smart about mutual funds. Consider just sticking with an index fund. Or let us point you to some outstanding and promising funds.
Life is dangerous enough. You don't have to work in the most dangerous professions to put yourself at great risk. (If you do work in one, be safe out there!) You don't have to put your financial security in jeopardy. Take a few steps now toward being fiscally responsible. You'll thank yourself later.
Krispy Kreme is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.